Polokwane Metro's Electrical Division (PMED) already had a mandate to install a very comprehensive CCTV system to monitor the entire Polokwane CBD with the goal of improving security in the area.
The project had to have a practical and robust consol system that would use existing space and facilities at PMED and result in an integrated and aesthetically pleasing control room.
PMED's control room is large (11 m by 6 m) but had to contain eight desks with 108 large monitors along with eight operator control stations that also incorporate large monitors.
Matt Mathews from PMED explains, "The challenge of incorporating all the equipment for the CCTV system into the control room was primarily one of space. The logistics of implementing the CCTV solution also had its own challenges."
The changes that had to occur had been the subject of strategic planning at PMED for some time.
PMED had produced a detailed specification for the control room implementation of the CCTV solution, which suggested that a strong, compact system with fold down doors for access to and maintenance of equipment, was required.
Ed Wakefield, managing director of Mimic Crafts, comments, "The Alutech aluminium frame system was ideal for this as the frame offers strength in a compact form and still provides space for infill to give an appealing result. It would have been extremely difficult to use any other material than aluminium to achieve the desired results, so the Alutech frame really provided an ideal solution in this situation."
Another requirement was the necessity of housing large plasma screen monitors in such a manner that they were easy to view from the control desks. "Operators had to be able to both operate the CCTV and be able to focus on the monitors from the stations," says Wakefield.
Because of budget constraints, the monitors would have to be installed in several phases. Mathews comments, "We intended to begin monitoring the well-known 'hot spots' in the Polokwane CBD, and extend our coverage over time until we had achieved the goal of total coverage."
The project did go out to tender. Mimic Crafts, who manufacture the Alutech modular control consoles, won the contract to provide this equipment because product met all of PMED's requirements perfectly. Wakefield comments, "The Alutech system was chosen on price and suitability. The modular characteristics of the Alutech product made it possible to manufacture large control desks and wall mounting monitor enclosures in small sections that could fit through a standard door."
Mimic Crafts produced concept drawings on the initial stage that were: "Approved fairly promptly. The drawings also proved to be absolutely essential in order to ensure that all requirements were met," adds Wakefield.
A system was evolved that utilised the modularity of the Allutech design to ensure that the control room would not have an unfinished appearance whilst awaiting the monitors that would be installed later, as funds became available.
An unexpected challenge arose during the installation process as a result of goals that were set to meet 2010 Soccer World Cup requirements. "Delivery targets had to change from a medium track to a fast track due to increased demands on Polokwane Metro to meet World Cup targets," explains Mathews. Wakefield adds, "Alutech's modular nature made it possible to cut the implementation time dramatically and we were therefore able meet PMED's changed timeframe objectives."
Mathews concludes, "Mimic Crafts was able to deliver a practical and aesthetically pleasing solution for our control room. Mimic rose to the challenge of meeting the drastically reduced timeframe for implementation without compromising on the quality of the final solution.
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